If you have been following this blog for while, you know that I have a special, cute, red headed beginning student who loves for me to compose songs for him. He parades into the room, looks for his footstool, and gets right to work.
Starting on the black keys we progressed slowly, learning the names of the keys, how to hold the hands, how to drop into the keys, left hand and right hand, finger numbers, and all the other things we teach beginning students. I wrote one song a week for him for many weeks, mirroring what he liked and his favorite activities. My student was very young and could not sit to practice for too long , so we took our time and leisurely went through his first book, My First Piano Adventures. Now he is learning to read notes on the staff, and thanks to a great background, he is doing very well. But I have a nostalgic, bittersweet feeling, because I know that period of his life is gone and he is growing up. It is the same feeling we have when we drop off our children for the first day of kindergarten. We’re happy and sad at the same time!
This was the last pre-reading piece I wrote for him. He was thrilled to play hands together and he loved the sound of the open fifths and the minor key. A lot of practice drumming this out on the piano cover helped to get hands together, as well as all the rhythm activities we have been doing for the past 9 months. He sailed through the skipping notes because we did a lot of preparation. This is a great song to memorize and play for others because it sound impressive. My student repeated it an octave lower for a longer piece.
If your student has trouble with the skipping notes, play them in the air and on the piano cover before playing on the keys. Unless your student is older, this should not be one of his first pieces. Wait until he is ready.
Some teachers do not think it is good to spend so much time on pre-reading. But I would like to point out that it took weeks for this student to develop the coordination to play with the correct fingers consistently. Other teachers wonder why start piano so early if it take so long to get anywhere. Why not wait until they can learn it faster? But he enjoys his lessons so much, and loves to play. This alone is a great motivator for him and a good ego boost. Plus, there is no doubt in my mind that the earlier children are exposed to rhythm and musicality, the easier they catch on, just like learning a foreign language. I can guarantee that this student will have no rhythm problems when he is older, unlike many of our students who start at a later age. If boys are playing impressive sounding pieces by the time they are in the later elementary grades, they are much more likely to stick with piano.
The words and art from this song is recycled from my book Sunny Solos. In that book this piece is on the staff with a different melody. My daughter was able to draw and color the bulldozer in about 5 minutes. I wish she could do all my art!
To print this song, go to my website, click *music*, scroll down to SP013 and click *download*.